UNITED NATIONS - The UN Wednesday appealed for $459 million in aid for Pakistan after floods devastated large areas of the country, making it a catastrophe that is bigger than the combined effect of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2005 Kashmir and 2010 Haiti earthquakes. The appeal was launched by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes at a meeting at UN headquarters and would cover a 90-day period of immediate relief for millions of people affected by the floods that have cut a swathe through the country, killing hundreds of people and destroying homes, farmland and major infrastructure. We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible, said Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, at the launch of the humanitarian response plan. The death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. If we dont act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortages, added Holmes, who is also the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs. The UN and Pakistan estimate that more than 14 million people have now been affected by the emergency with various degrees of severity. Shelter is an urgent priority and $105 million out of the $459.7 million sought is required to provide tents or plastic sheeting, as well as basic household goods, for an initial target of more than 2 million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). We are working round the clock to get these items manufactured and delivered, said Martin Mogwanja, Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan. I can confidently say that the response could not be any faster. More than 65,000 tents have already been delivered, covering at least 450,000 people, along with plastic sheets for an estimated 60,000 people. Up to 6 million people across the country are in need of food aid which is estimated to cost $150 million, while $5.7 million will be needed to ensure the survival of livestock. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have so far delivered more than 4,350 tons of food to at least 370,000 people, including in the remote Swat Valley, which had been cut off from assistance since last week. Clean water will be provided to approximately 6 million people to prevent the risk of waterborne diseases from emerging. Some $110 million is required to fund efforts to provide water to those affected by the floods. More than 1 million others have already received clean water thanks to the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and its partners. About $56 million will be required for emergency health care, covering potentially up to 14 million people, while $14 million is needed to ensure proper nutrition for children under the age of five, and for pregnant or lactating women. The response of the international community has so far been encouraging, said Holmes. It is essential that this continues, he said, adding that the magnitude of the disaster is sinking into the international community. So far, donors have committed or contributed $47 million to the response activities of the UN and its partners, and a further $99.5 million has been pledged. At least $300 million is, however, still urgently needed. The funds requested under the initial floods emergency response plan will be revised within 30 days to reflect assessed needs as the situation evolves. Considering the scale of the area hit by the floods, the number of people in need of assistance is expected to rise as assessments continue and access improves. The combined population of the affected districts is around 43 million, out of Pakistans total estimated population of 168 million. Response efforts have been hampered by limited access to areas with destroyed infrastructure. UN agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) are planning to assist vulnerable flood-affected people in up to seven different geographical areas - Balochistan, Punjab, the Federally Administered Tribal Area, Gilgit-Baltistan, KPK, Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Sindh. Our staff reporter from Islamabad adds: More than 160,000 people have, so far, received United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)s emergency shelter and relief assistance in flood-affected areas as the agency launched an initial $41 million aid appeal for humanitarian assistance to the flood affectees on Wednesday. The appeal aims at meeting the needs of more than 560,000 people affected by the flooding crisis. UNHCRs targeted aid programme is aiming to help 80,000 families. People of Pakistan urgently need the support of the international community, said Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR representative to Pakistan. The monsoon floods that swept across the land destroyed homes, farms, factories and entire livelihoods for millions of people. As it was appealing for funds, four UNHCR trucks loaded with 500 all-weather family tents that had been trapped for a week by landslides finally reached Quetta, Wednesday, to help meet shelter needs of people in Balochistan who lost their homes due to the massive flooding. A further five trucks that were part of the same convoy are expected to arrive in Quetta the next hours. Were putting our stockpiles and expertise to work helping all communities affected by this disaster, but funding is urgently needed to help agencies respond in this time of crisis, Kebede declared. Elsewhere in Pakistan, the agency has so far dispatched 1,000 tents to Sindh Province, which arrived were delivered, Wednesday, in Sukkur and Shikarpur districts, which were overwhelmed by flooding the bloated Indus River. In the south where floodwater is still rising, more than 600 spontaneous settlements have sprung up across affected districts of Sindh in public facilities like schools, colleges and government buildings where conditions are extremely crowded. People are also camping out along roadsides and many lack any shelter. UNHCRs tents (678) have been sent to the city of Sukkur with the remainder going to Shikarpur.